Hamlet is one of William Shakespeare’s most popular plays. The story follows Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, as he tries to avenger his father’s murder. Along the way, Hamlet confronts many challenges, including the death of his beloved Ophelia and his own deteriorating mental state.
One of the biggest challenges Hamlet faces is trying to figure out which course of action to take. Should he take revenge on his uncle, Claudius, who murdered Hamlet’s father? Or should he try to move on from the tragedy and live a peaceful life? Hamlet wrestles with this decision throughout the play, and it is through his interactions with Laertes, Fortinbras and Horatio that he is finally able to make a decision.
Laertes is Hamlet’s foil in the sense that he is also seeking revenge for his father’s death. However, Laertes is much more impulsive than Hamlet and ends up killing Hamlet’s girlfriend, Ophelia, in a fit of rage. This leads to a confrontation between Hamlet and Laertes, during which Hamlet finally kills Claudius.
Fortinbras is another foil for Hamlet. Fortinbras is the Prince of Norway, and he is preparing to invade Denmark as revenge for his father’s death. Hamlet sees Fortinbras as a useless leader who is only interested in violence, but he also recognizes that Fortinbras will be successful where he has failed. This motivates Hamlet to take action and finally kill Claudius.
Horatio is Hamlet’s closest friend, and he serves as a sounding board for Hamlet’s thoughts and feelings. Horatio is the one who urges Hamlet to take revenge on Claudius, but he also tries to keep Hamlet from going too far down the path of madness. In the end, Horatio is the one who survives the tragedy, and he tells Hamlet’s story to the world.
Through his interactions with Laertes, Fortinbras and Horatio, Hamlet is finally able to make a decision about what to do. He realizes that he can’t just sit by and do nothing, because that would be letting Claudius get away with murder. He also realizes that he can’t allow himself to be consumed by revenge, because that would make him no better than Claudius. In the end, Hamlet decides to take action and kill Claudius, even though it means sacrificing his own life. Hamlet’s story is a tragedy, but it is also a story about redemption and forgiveness.
Many would agree that William Shakespeare has created some of the most unique and cognitively stimulating characters in literature. Among them, Hamlet is by far the most captivating. In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, we see many of his qualities through Horatio and Fortinbras who act as foils to him.
Although their educations are comparable, Horatio remains level-headed whileHamlet is constantly changing and philosophizing. Out of the two foils, it becomes quite apparent that Fortinbras embodies many more qualities similar to Hamlet such as their shared nobility and lineage.
Hamlet is an incredibly indecisive character, whereas Fortinbras is quite the opposite as he is decisive and takes what he wants. Laertes shares Hamlet’s fiery personality and his impulsiveness. Hamlet is definitely Shakespeare’s most dynamic character and this can be seen very evidently through his foils.
Hamlet, Laertes, Fortinbras and Horatio are all very different people, but they have some similarities. Hamlet is Prince of Denmark, while Laertes is the son of a nobleman and has returned from France. Fortinbras is the Prince of Norway, and Horatio is Hamlet’s friend. Hamlet, Laertes and Fortinbras are all nobility, while Horatio is not. Hamlet, Laertes and Fortinbras are all around the same age, while Horatio is older.
Hamlet has been grieving for his father’s death, while Laertes has been away in France and only just found out about his father’s death. Fortinbras’ father is also dead, but he does not seem to be grieving. Hamlet is in love with Ophelia, while Laertes loves her as a sister. Fortinbras does not seem to be in love with anyone. Horatio is Hamlet’s friend and confidante.
Hamlet, Laertes and Fortinbras are all hot-headed and quick to anger. Hamlet is also very indecisive, while Laertes and Fortinbras are not. Hamlet is incredibly intelligent and philosophical, while Laertes and Fortinbras are not. Hamlet is haunted by his father’s ghost, while Laertes and Fortinbras are not. Horatio is the only one who seems to be level-headed and calm.
Although both Fortinbras and Laertes exhibit some characteristics similar to Hamlet, they also differ in several key ways. The biggest difference between the two is their nobility, as well as the way their fathers behave. The character traits exemplified by Hamlet are also present in his foils.
Among Hamlet’s three foils, Horatio is the most dissimilar. When Horatio first enters the play, Hamlet says,”And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio.” (I,ii_171)Hamlet is referencing the city where their shared alma mater is located.
Hamlet is trying to establish a connection with Horatio and make him feel comfortable. Hamlet trusts Horatio so much that he tells him his plan to feign madness. (II,ii,257-261) Hamlet later confides in Horatio about his love for Ophelia and asks him to tell her. (III,ii,95-111) Furthermore, Hamlet asks Horatio to swear not reveal what he is about to show him, the ghost of his father.
Hamlet tells Horatio “Here I am ever Hamlet” (I,v,172) meaning that he can always trust him. In other words, Hamlet is saying that he will never change and will always be a loyal friend. Hamlet entrusts Horatio with his life, as he asks him to kill him if King Claudius tries to poison him. (V,ii,298-299) Hamlet has so much faith in Horatio that he is willing to die by his hand, rather than the king’s.
Horatio is a foil for Hamlet in terms of their relationship with their fathers. Hamlet’s father was killed by Claudius and Hamlet is struggling to cope with it and take revenge. On the other hand, Horatio’s father is still alive and well. Consequently, Hamlet is jealous of Horatio because he still has his father, while Hamlet does not.
While Laertes and Hamlet are both noblemen, they differ in their treatment of women. Hamlet is in love with Ophelia, but he is reluctant to marry her because he believes that it would be unfair to trap her in a loveless marriage. (III,I,115-116) Hamlet is also worried that she will be unfaithful to him if they do get married. (III,I,148-149) Hamlet’s fear of women is exemplified when he says “frailty thy name is woman!” (I,ii,146) Hamlet’s view of women as being weak and untrustworthy is in contrast to Laertes’ view of women as being strong and trustworthy. Hamlet is a foil for Laertes in terms of their treatment of women.
Hamlet is also a foil for Fortinbras in terms of their relationship with their fathers. Hamlet’s father was killed by Claudius and Hamlet is struggling to cope with it and take revenge. On the other hand, Fortinbras’ father was killed by Hamlet’s father and Fortinbras is determined to take revenge. Fortinbras is a foil for Hamlet in terms of their relationship with their fathers.